Oregon Solar News

Policy Update - 2.8.18

The 2018 Legislative session has begun and OSEIA is working very closely with our lobbyist and allies on passing HB 4121, the residential Home WRAP (Weatherization, Retrofit, and Affordability Program) bill. We are happy to report...

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Policy Update - 1.31.18

We now have the official bill number for the Home WRAP residential solar incentive we are advocating for in the 2018 short session.
It’s bill: HB 4121, official information on the bill is here. The bill is sponsored by Representative Marsh from Ashland - if you have a second please send her a thank you for your support email! (her contact info is here).
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The Art of Maintaining Control in a Market Full of Uncertainty: Reducing Stress through Exercise

With 80% of the US solar panel supply sourced from China, and the recent 30% tariff which many predict stands to hurt the solar industry, it's easy to imagine the high stress and tension you might be experiencing. It's often challenging to know what to do in these moments of high emotion, tough to know which decisions to make and how quickly. While it may be a great time to reduce stress through open dialogue, as addressed in the November issue of the Oregon Solar Review, it's likely a better time to focus on reducing your own stress and tension so you can think more clearly and make more solid decisions for the short and long term.

When stress is high and pressure is on, we're often inclined to dive into decision-making.

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Policy Update - 1.19.18

Due to the recent very low Resource Value of Solar (RVOS) values filed by all three Investor owned utilities (PGE, PacifiCorps, and Idaho Power), OSEIA has filed to intervene in three PUC RVOS dockets.

RVOS is incredibly important to the solar industry as it will be used to set the community solar credit level - if the credit level is too low it could scuttle the program entirely. Don’t think this can’t happen as it has happened to the largest community solar program in the nation in CA.
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Oregon developer reveals plan to build one of nation's biggest solar projects

By Pete Danko, Portland Business Journal -- Utility solar took a big step forward in Oregon last fall when Avangrid Renewables' 56-megawatt Gala plant - more than five times the size of any previous project in the state - went online, sending power to Apple Inc.

What David Brown of Obsidian Renewables has in mind would take things to a whole new level.

Read the full story on PBJ.com: https://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2018/01/... or here in pdf form.

Solar Plus: Oregon State Strategies

Solar Plus stakeholders completed the first year of strategy development to build more solar energy generation in a way that maximizes the technical, social, and economic benefits. In December 2017, the Solar Plus Oregon group finalized strategies for the next two years. Partners will be working in 2018 towards implementing programs and developing projects to meet state goals and create a more sustainable and equitable solar industry.

The state-level goals developed by partners include an Equity Framework to guide the development of the state strategies. The state goals include a commitment to broaden access to solar energy to low-income households and communities of color, to engage with utilities and regulators on the complementary technologies that add value to solar deployment, and to increase the popular understanding of solar, including in the business community.

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Season's Greetings 2017

OSEIA members, 2017 has come to a close and 2018 is about to begin! While we’ve had some challenges in 2017, there were many great things to be thankful for including very strong support from our members! We ended the year on a very positive note with respect to membership support which is essential to our continued efforts - your support is greatly appreciated as we need you more than ever!

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The Art of Maintaining Control in a Market Full of Uncertainty: Building Culture and Communication through Well-planned Meetings

We've all been in meetings that we wished would end before they even started. The air is heavy and the tone is dull. The information comes flying at us, with no room for input, questions or concerns. An agenda is missing, or lacking at best, with no flexibility to address what arises in the space. And there's certainly no laughter nor room for humor - a serious and focused leader at the front demands our silence and focused attention.

Is it possible to facilitate a meeting that people actually benefit from and enjoy?

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OSEIA teams with Solar Energy International (SEI) in Training Partnership

OSEIA has partnered with industry-recognized renewable-energy school Solar Energy International (SEI) that will include discounts on online coursework.

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Home WRAP Restores Support for Solar & Energy Efficiency

The energy efficiency + solar "Home WRAP" concept bill was submitted by Representative Pam Marsh from Ashland. This bill restores support for residential efficiency and solar, particularly in rural Oregon, that was taken away with the loss of the RETC.

In particular the WRAP bill provides a production based incentive on a $/kWh rate for solar projects. It's paid out in one lump sum after the installation is completed. It is not a tax credit. The incentive amount is paid directly to contractors and must be reflected in the customer bid and then taken off of the customers paid system price. The first year incentive max amount is $4,500/system.

Over the coming months OSEIA will follow the bill closely and work with a coalition of stakeholders to support the bill during the 2018 legislative session. It is a short session and Oregon has a budget crisis so passing this bill will not be easy - we will let you know how to support the effort in January.

Oregon Solar Review - November 2017

Click here to ready November 2017 Oregon Solar Review

The Art of Maintaining Control in a Market Full of Uncertainty: Reducing Stress through Open Dialogue

By Tamara Staton, Thriving Solar -- As we continue to ride the tumultuous solar coaster, many industry professionals naturally wonder what lurks around the corner in this ever-changing solar market. While we can't predict the future, there are things that we can do as business owners, executives, and managers to maintain control under circumstances that are mostly out of our control.

There is clearly great uncertainty with the sunset of the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) in Oregon on December 31, 2017, not to mention the recent (and controversial) trade case - it's hard to know exactly how things will look in this market in just a few months....

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OSEIA's Policy Effort Overview

OSEIA is currently working on a RETC replacement bill with a coalition of other efficiency advocates:

  • OSEIA has hired a lobbyist and will work with other advocates to restore support for solar in Oregon.
  • The new bill will be submitted on Nov 21st for the 2018 session.
  • When the new bill is ready we'll send it out to members.
  • We will need a tremendous amount of support from you, our members!

We're actively working on the Community Solar PUC process:

  • OSEIA is chairing the project details subgroup tasked with providing recommendations of how projects make it through the community solar process, from application to pre-certification to final certification.

We're working with Utility Scale Developers on how we can improve land use and zoning issues to promote responsible solar development in OR.

OSEIA's Efforts on Solar Plus Grant

OSEIA is working as a member of a Department of Energy Sunshot grant called Solar Plus. This grant is an initiative to convene solar stakeholders across Oregon and Washington to create strategies for increased solar deployment. We are specifically working with stakeholders to help facilitate the development of state level goals, advising on the process of developing a statewide solar plan for Washington, compiling data to inform goals and metrics, participating in technical working groups on valuation of grid assets and more.

Solar Plus envisions a future where the benefits of solar energy are equitably expanded to all including renters, households with low incomes, communities of color, and all ratepayers. Led by a broad coalition of stakeholders we are working towards tripling the amount of solar energy installed in Washington and Oregon by 2019. Find out more about this effort at: solarplusnw.org

Oregon Solar Review - September 2017

Click here to ready September 2017 Oregon Solar Review

Updates on Oregon’s Community Solar Program

By Charlie Coggeshall -- The past few weeks have brought some relatively encouraging updates regarding the implementation of the state’s community solar program. We can now confidently anticipate stakeholder engagement opportunities around key implementation aspects of the program over the next several months.

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A Message From OSEIA's Executive Director

OSEIA Members,

I am excited to take over as OSEIAs interim executive director and I look forward to engaging with you on upcoming initiatives, including 2018 legislation to fix the expiration of OR solar tax credits. Please know that we are as strong as ever and maintaining the momentum we've built over the past two years remains a high priority. I feel great about OSEIAs future for many reasons but a key one is that a main contributor to our momentum, the efforts of Craig Ernst and Meghan Craig, will continue delivering the excellent programs and events that OSEIA is becoming known for.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to myself or OSEIA staff if you have any questions.

Note to Affiliates: US ITC Vote: Injury

State Affiliates: Today at 11AM ET the U.S. ITC voted and found injury in the Suniva/SolarWorld 201 Petition. This means that we move in to the Remedy Phase of the proceeding. Click to read more.

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OSEIA Is On The Move

OSEIA contracts interim Executive Director!

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New Study Provides Baseline Insights on Solar Industry Workforce Diversity

Last week, The Solar Foundation released the 2017 U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study, which is the first comprehensive examination of the workforce diversity of the U.S. solar energy industry. Findings show that racial diversity within the industry has remained relatively stagnant over recent years, and that all people of color, particularly women, are at risk of being left behind as the solar workforce continues its rapid growth trajectory. Of the major findings, only 8% of African American respondents reported that they have successfully moved up the career ladder, and 50% think they have not been successful in moving up in their careers and feel “stuck” in their current positions. Meanwhile, all women and people of color are less likely to earn top-tier wages than their white male peers. Learn more.

Oregon Solar Review -August 2017

Click here to read August 2017 Oregon Solar Review

My Solar Story - Sherrie Pelsma

I’m the Program Director at Community Energy Project (CEP), where I’ve worked for over 11 years. My focus is on community education, low-income engagement, program development, and grassroots outreach. CEP provides DIY workshops on weatherization and lead poisoning prevention, as well as direct repair and weatherization services for low-income seniors and people with disabilities...It is because of this experience with the intersectionality of the low-income experience that we were approached to give feedback on SB 1547 “Coal to Clean” bill which included a sub-section on Community Solar – with a further sub-section on serving low-income communities. I’ll be honest, we had to be convinced. After all, what does solar have to do with low-income?

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OSEIA Trade Case Letter

OSEIA Trade Case Letter

Oregon Solar Review - July 2017

Click here to ready July 2017 Oregon Solar Review

Clean Energy Incentives Left Behind by the Legislature

Oregon has always been seen as a leader in clean energy. Before “climate change” or even “clean energy” were commonplace terms, Oregon was helping individuals make clean energy investments. In the late 1970s, the legislature created the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) to provide incentives to Oregonians to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. In fact, the RETC was identified in the recently released Oregon Solar Plan as a key factor in getting solar to where it is today in Oregon. It also helped Oregon reduce its energy usage over the years.

You’d think that as we confront climate change and look to be a national leader in demonstrating the benefits of clean energy that making sure the RETC or some kind of clean energy incentive would be a legislative no-brainer.

You’d be wrong.

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My Solar Story - John Patterson

In 1979 at the ripe young age of 30 I built a new home in Northwest Portland. I installed a solar water heating system in May 1980. Proudly standing next to my solar collectors, on May 18th I watched Mt. St. Helens erupt. I was a real estate broker, having just started my own company selling a condominium project misfortunately called “Ash Creek Park”. As the region was covered in ash, and with interest rates climbing to 19% nothing was selling and I had a big mortgage to pay. I called the solar company who’d installed my system and asked them if they could use a part time salesman. I told them I could sell anything I believed in.

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A Message about RETC

Most of you have heard that the legislative effort to extend the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) or replace it with another residential solar incentive was not successful for 2017. While we negotiated a very good package that balanced the needs of the industry and solar customers with the needs of the state, one or two legislators felt that without a more stable revenue approach for the state, they could not support any tax credits, no matter how small (ours would have had a $2.7 million impact on the current budget).

We had terrific champions, we had great grassroots support (over 200 people make calls or sent e-mails on July 3 alone as we entered the final days of the session. All of that combined kept us alive all the way to the end.

But we still fell short and are now trying to determine next steps...

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Solar Workforce Diversity Study Benchmarks the Industry

A diverse workforce better reflects the perspective of its customers, fosters innovation and retains existing talent—all of which are key contributors to financial performance.

That’s why a first-of-its-kind report will be released later this year on career pathways and diversity in the solar workforce. As an initiative of the Solar Energy Industry Association’s Women’s Empowerment Committee and administered by The Solar Foundation, the study will establish a baseline on specific job responsibilities, salaries, and levels of leadership for women, minorities and veterans. It will compare the results to other industry sectors and identify best practices and areas for improvement.

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Oregon Solar Review - June 2017

Click here to read June 2017 Oregon Solar Review

Policy Update - 6.30.17

Policy Update: Lots Happening; Lots Still to Do

As this update is being written, there is a big effort going on in the legislature to create a new residential solar incentive. A big effort around community solar rulemaking just finished but there’s still a lot of work to do to implement a community solar program.

Legislative Update: The Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) will expire at year’s end, but we have the chance to create a new tax credit to help residential customers install solar on their rooftops. The new credit, known as the Residential Incentive for Solar Energy (RISE), will make it easier for residential customer to go solar. We are currently pushing hard to make sure that the new tax credit will be included in the final tax credit bill that the legislature will consider before the session ends.

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Ready to advance your career in Oregon’s solar industry?

Support the Oregon SolarPAC!!!

OSEIA has started a political action committee to increase our voice and influence with our decision makers in Salem. Your donation to the Oregon SolarPAC helps expand OSEIA’s capacity to develop a marketplace for the widespread adoption of solar energy in Oregon. More information>